Showing posts from May, 2007

Faith, Hope, and Love

I have been an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church for seven years and served as Rector at small church for six years. The Episcopal Church in my diocese is fairly progressive, smart, and invested in mission and ministry. But, like everywhere these days this diocese struggles with the issues at hand. Sometime soon I want to write about my journey through the waters of human sexuality. But today I want to write about "Progressive Christianity."

Progressive Christianity has been on my mind a lot. I think, in part this is because I have been a progressive Christian my entire life and didn't know that nor understand it fully. Still don't, but I am learning. And it is exciting. I also want to write about progressive Christianity because the RevGals blog site has a book discussion on "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell. This book, and I've only read about half of it, takes much of our Christian faith tradition and beliefs and looks at them through a new lens. Bell…

A Great Day

The birthday is over. It was a great day. We had good weather, sunny with a gentle breeze. It was a day good for BBQing and sitting outside. Menu: homemade guacamole and chips; veggie tray; grilled chicken marinated in lime and garlic; Italian sausage; hamburgers; pasta salad and coleslaw; and pie - apple, cherry, and blueberry with vanilla ice cream.

Everyone had fun. Son and his friends, family, and some of my friends. It was good.

Now everyone has gone home. Dishes are done, all cleaned up. And the house is so clean! That is one of the perks from a party, a super clean house. I mean. Why do I wait until a party to clean like this? I like it so much when it's done.

We ended the day watching The Museum with Ben Stiller, funny, cute. Soon, it's off to bed. I hope I sleep tonight, something I have not done much of lately.

A fifteenth birthday

If we were Latin we would be celebrating a quincenera tonight, our sons 15th birthday....he was born 15 years ago today, on Memorial Day, at 12:45am, yup, just barely into the day. I was the last woman in to the maternity ward that night, arriving about midnight...but I was the first to deliver. I told them when I arrived, and could barely think or walk ('cuz I was in transition damn it...I mean, well, if you've ever been in transition you know it's an altered state of being...). Anyway. I told them. no more history, this baby is ready! within 45 minutes of arriving at the hospital he was born.

Alas, the cord was around his neck it was - mid labor - "stop pushing" I had no meds. And really the pain was not bad. (my first was back labor all the way, that was intense, very intense, but this one, piece of cake...)...anyway. Stop pushing. I did. but it was tough. His apgar was 9, and then 9. So. good. But they took him for 8 hours to make sure …

Friday Five: Hard habit to Break

Reverendmother over at RevGals says: As many of you know, I have been experimenting with some severely curtailed Internet usage. I realized that I had gotten into some bad habits, which got me thinking about habits in general. I understand that a habits/random facts meme has already been going around. In the hopes that it hasn't hit too many of us yet, be as lighthearted or as serious as you'd like with the following:

1. Have you ever successfully quit a bad habit, or gotten a good habit established? Tell us about how you did it. One of the techniques I used to get through seminary with decent grades, while raising two kids (one was 7, the other 3 when I started): I managed to be home with them after school and through dinner, bath, and bedtime story. Then about 7:30 I'd head off for my study cubicle on campus and work like mad for three hours. Then I'd come home at 10:30 to watch Jay Leno (or David Letterman) and - here's the habit - eat a huge bowl of ice cream. E…

They're Gone, They're Home At Last...

One of the many things I do, besides work as the senior pastor at a small church, is to work as a voulunteer with Episcopal Migration Ministries and their local affiliate Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries. My official title: Episcopal Migration Ministries Refugee Program Diocesan Liaison (yeesh). Anyway. That's how I got this family. They arrived last week but their house was not ready. on a day's notice wew needed some place for them. So the church took them in.

I know almost nothing about them, except they came from a refugee camp in Cameroon. Originally from Rwanda they spent some time in Cameroon. The day they arrived they flew from Darfur to Paris to Chicago.

Pretty Much Done with It

Sally over at Eternal Echoes
has posted a personality quiz. I took it and this is what it said about me:

"You are cautious as often as you are bold. An enviable balance. Your world might explode every now and again, but you were pretty much done with it anyway."

I guess that about sums it up.

Red Hair

Went to have my hair cut today and "glazed"...a gentler coloring process than "color"...I don't quite get it but that's what the hair dresser tells me. I use it to tone down the gray and give it a softer look....This time the glaze was made a little warmer and I ended up a red head. Now I look like my mother. (She always had beautiful red hair, as does my brother)...and gone is my gray...oops.

oh well. It's only hair. I can always cut it off and go gray again. which I probably will in a year or two. 'cuz that's what I do...

Tuesday Topics: Dream Big Edition

Deb over at Another unfinished symphony says

Dreaming big... The "Come Away" Edition
(This is what I get for procrastinating and surfing instead of studying...)

Gary Means wrote:
"If you could start any ministry, and have it fully funded by an anonymous source who did not want to be credited, what would you do? I guess I should limit the amount, otherwise everyone would just end world hunger, etc. So, let's say you were given a mere $5,000,000."

So. What kind of ministry would I do if I could dream big and had the resources to do it?

I think I'd like to build satellite resource offices around the metro to help in the resettlement of refugee families. Right now we only one center in the city, which makes it difficult to work in wide region. So, for example our church is hosting a family for a short while, but we are a good hour's drive away from the center, which means a long commute there and back two times a day whenever the agency needs to bring the famil…

Monday Morning Musings

Monday. My day off. And I am exhausted. But, alas, no rest for the weary. Today I make my quarterly sojourn with MIL to the doctor. Mind you, this takes all day to accomplish one doctor's visit. First I drive an hour to pick her up. MIL is 83, and moving very slowly. Then we drive another 30 minutes to the hospital where her Dr. has an office. Doctors office is always crowded and the wait is long. Finally, we meet with the doctor and I watch while she, with Parkinson's related dementia, and doctor discuss her various ailments. I try to fill in the missing pieces while trying to leave her with as much dignity and autonomy as possible. After doctors visit we have lunch. Always in the same corner diner near her home. I drop her off, she is thoroughly wiped out and takes a long nap. I drive an hour home in bad traffic.

I'm not complaining. I love these days with MIL. It's just difficult that they always come on Monday when I'm tired.

Today I am tired because, well, yeste…

Refugee Temporary "Home"

So. They arrived. A mom and her five kids and a grandmother. After sixteen hours of travel, the youngest is four, the oldest is 60 something. They looked completely shell shocked. Totally overwhelmed. We took them on tour and showed them how to use ovens and microwaves. Only one speaks English, and that one quickly turned the TV to Friends...ahhh. So much is universal. I know we overwhelmed them with info. I know I will need to review with them later. When they are rested. We had to instruct them to watch the kids, the little ones, nine and four. We have a fenced in playground the kids aren't used to fencess. In Africa the kids run free in their towns. No cars, or few cars. We have lots of traffic, lots of cars. So much could happen.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to hug them. I wanted to say, "It will be ok." But right now they are probably in no place to hear that. They aren't even in their new home. They are all housed in one room of a church. Granted, they have lots o…

RevGals Friday Five: The Big Event

Songbird over at RevGals says:Did you know that the major purpose for forming a non-profit, RevGalBlogPals, Inc., was to be able to attract grant support for a large scale RevGalBlogPal meetup? My dream from the beginning has been attracting financial support that would allow as many of our bloggers to be together as possible.

RGBP, Inc. now has a planning committee, and we are in the early stages of planning the RevGalBlogPal Big Event. What, When, Where and Who are all on the table at the moment. In that spirit, I bring you the Big Event Friday Five.

1. What would the meeting be like? (Continuing Ed? Retreat? Outside Speakers? Interest Groups? Workshops? Hot Stone Massages? Pedicures? Glorified Slumber Party?) I enjoy a combination of learning opportunities with plenty of rest and reflection time built in. I like speakers who give me something to ponder during that reflection time.

2. When in 2008 might you be able to attend? January? Shortly after Easter? Summer? Fall? Some other time…

If It Weren't Such A Bad Image I'd Call This Post Hotel Rwanda...

Tomorrow we will host a family of refugees from Rwanda. The house they were due to move into is not ready. They arrive tomorrow afternoon and need some place to stay. So. The church will give them a place to stay for a day or two. A family of seven. A mother, her five children, and a grandmother. We have the room, and showers, and a kitchen. It's not the best. But it will be something. A roof.

This is one of my ministries. I have been working to help resettle refugees for a few years. I care deeply about this. I realize, all too keenly, that I am blessed to live here in this country; to not worry about losing my home, my family, my life to war and politics or worse, genocide.

These refugee families come here after living through incredible violence and fear and loss. They have been dislocated and cannot return "home" because they will lose their lives. That is the primary difference between a refugee and an immigrant - refugees cannot return home for fear of life. So, by …

A Funeral Sermon: Healed by Love

There a few elements of life common to all people. Basically they include living, loving, suffering, and dying. All of us experience these aspects of life. The quality of them we may describe as good or not so good. Regardless these elements of life form who we are in deep and profound ways.

Gathered here today we celebrate all of these.

We celebrate the life of Lynn, wife, mother, sister, daughter, niece, cousin, friend. We come her today to honor all the ways she lived and you knew her in life. We remember her love. We are relieved that her suffering has ended. And we mourn her death.

What I know about you all as a family is that you will do this well. Today and in the days ahead you will celebrate Lynn’s life with funny stories and laughter, with tears and sorrow. You will grieve her loss and you will rejoice that you knew her.

In life we all suffer times of great sorrow.

Our lives are peculiar. For just when we think everything is great, life is wonderful, something happens. An ill…

sudden weather change

One day it's 90's and sunny, the next day it is 60's and stormy. Of course it usually works that way in the Midwest - heat followed by storms and cool weather. What I keep wondering about is: why do we no longer have just simple rainy days anymore? No gentle rains? No soft rains that last all night or all day? No, we have, over and over again, intense down pours. Rain so thick you can't see across the street. Rain so intense it runs off the ground and causes flooding instead of soaking in.

We were out walking our dogs today. A nice sunny day when we set out. But shortly into the walk, the clouds blew in, dark and threatening. We cut the walk short. And good thing. The sky opened and the rain came down in buckets. Luckily we were home. Actually I was just getting in the car at the grocery store when the storm unleashed its furry. Forget about seeing anything within one or two feet. So. Just wait it out.

And now. The sun is shining on wet grounds, everything is sparkling.…

A Funeral, honoring the sorrow and the sweetness of life

I have a funeral tomorrow for the sister of a parishioner. C and J come to church regularly. C was on the search committee that called me to small church. We have dinner with C & J once or twice a year (husband and me). I blessed their house when the moved and buried J's father. And now, with the death of J's sister, I once more enter into the lives of her extended family.

I first met the extended family when J's father died, suddenly, about four year ago. Her parents had just arrived at their winter home in Florida. They had to bring the body home. Everyone was in shock. It was so unexpected. I was the new priest at small church. J called to see if I would preside at the funeral at the funeral home. No one could remember or knew if her father had been baptized. Not much for church this extended family did not know how to proceed. And J, being a church goer, was concerned about what could be done. What about her father's soul? How do we have a funeral like this? No …

Warmest Day Since August 23, 2006

The weather forcast for today: sunny, high of 85 degrees. And, it's my day off. So I'm going out. Taking the dogs out. Having lunch with a friend. Windows open and airing out the house. wow. I love it.

**Note to self. When it is hot outside, wear as little clothing as possible and make sure to wear cotton....also. No dog park today. Ruby (Viszla) has eye allergies which kicked in after we went to dog park yesterday. So. It's eye drop time and a walk through the neighborhood...question: how can she be a bird dog, bred to run in the fields and grasses and then be allergic to them...?

Trying On Clothes, A Metaphor for These Days

Over the last year I have entered myself into (or been entered in) five search process for a new call at a new church. It started in Sept. of 2006 and culminated last week when four out of the five called, or sent a letter, letting me know that they have chosen someone else. (Ok. so there is still one out there, but I haven't heard from them in weeks, so I'm thinking they have gone in a different direction)...

Ok. Yes, it is true that I felt that none of these churches turned out to be a good fit for me, so the calls were all correct. But can I say that it still stings? It's really hard to maintain the perspective of call and realize that the Holy Spirit is in here somewhere when the EGO keeps getting in the way. (ie "What's wrong with me? What did I do/say/not do/ not say???).

In many ways I am relieved. My family does not want to move anywhere. Our daughter is just getting herself established in the world of horses, competing, and all things equestrian. But she i…

The Shadow

Our sweet black cat, named Shadow by our son, loves to sit on top of the computer monitor and watch the curser and/or letters as I type. I imagine she would love to "catch" them. She is actually quite good at catching. Flies in mid air. Once, sitting on top of the refrigerator she got a spider as it trailed down from the ceiling fan. She lept off the frige, smacked the spider between her two front paws, in mid air, and landed on the floor where she played with the stunned spider. Eventually bored, she let it escape. (great, now I need to find it) amusing. But best of all she likes to curl up in my lap while I type, fall asleep, and purr...sigh.

RevGals Friday Five: Pot ta toe, Po tah toe...Either Or

ReverendMother over at RevGals writes: There are two types of people in the world, morning people and night owls. Or Red Sox fans and Yankees fans. Or boxers and briefs. Or people who divide the world into two types of people and those who don't. Let your preferences be known here. And if you're feeling verbose, defend your choices!

1. Mac? (woo-hoo!) or PC? (boo!)
Why yes, the Friday Five author reserves the right to editorialize! Mac. That's my preference. But sadly, we use PC these days. Not by choice.

2. Pizza: Chicago style luscious hearty goodness, or New York floppy and flaccid? Chicago style. After 35 years of living here and eating the good stuff...what else could I say?

3. Brownies/fudge containing nuts: No nuts. They give me mouth sores....

4. Do you hang your toilet paper so that the "tail" hangs flush with the wall, or over the top of the roll like normal people do?I go both ways or either big deal to me....

5. Toothpaste: Do you squeeze the tube w…

Standing Still

two out of three parishes that visited recently have called the other person. i wait to hear from one other. and two churches are quiet, who know what direction they are going in? i think i am going to stand still. i think i am going to stay right where i am for now. i wonder what God has in mind for me?

Monday: A Real Day Off...

A real day off today. No work at all. I blogged and read blogs, helping me to begin the process of reconnecting with my cyber space friends. I cleaned my house. My daughter and I went out for lunch and took the dogs to dog park. We made dinner from scratch, hamburgers (homemade) on the grill, sauteed onions, homemade fries. Ok not a complicated meal, but delicious. Add a glass of red wine, and a full day like this leaves me feeling almost normal and human again. Almost. It was a beautiful sunny day here in the low to mid 80's. Rain storms coming, but the day was fabulous.

Monday Morning Musings

The whirlwind of interviews is over. For now. I may have one or two more coming up. But for the few weeks I am done. The process of interviewing is fascinating. Getting to know a community from what the say and present and from what they do not....and also what they come to know about me (or not). I allow myself to be appropriately transparent. I am looking for a good fit, a place that really excites me, and a community I grow in and with. I am who I am, and that includes some strong gifts for leadership and ministry. So, I am discerning. And it's possible that of these three churches none of them will be the place I go to. And, while I have two others that I am considering, they are very quiet, so not too hopeful there either.

Which means I may end up starting the entire search process all over again.

So. On this Monday Morning. My day off I am thinking about the call and where the Spirit leads. I am working to stay reflective and hopeful. I am tired. On this day I will try to catc…

A Woman's Burden

Four hours of grilling. I have done lots of interviews. I may be the church job search pro. I'm good at it. But yesterday I experienced an interview that beat all others. Four hours of talking. This after a 90 minute phone interview earlier. This after a two hour lunch the day before where I barely ate as I answered question after question. This after they have spent 12 hours interviewing members of my parish and other references....Then in the midst of this a sixty some year old man asked me my views on abortion and how I would counsel a "13 year old pregnant girl who did not have supportive parents and came to me because she was pregnant." (Ok so no one else is every confused about a prepnancy, only poor girls???)....

Now, I am not about to get on my soap box regarding the abortion issue. But suffice it to say it was headed in a bad direction when he said that he believes abortion is wrong even in cases of incest and rape. And then I was virtually speechless when he sai…

One More

I have just returned from meeting folks at a church where I am considering a new call. It was a good, insightful visit. Not the "perfect" church but maybe the good enough church...We'll see if they call with an offer and what can be negotiated...but I am excited about the possibility.

Now I have one more visit, beginning tomorrow (Friday). This search committee will be here for three days. I still have two other churches that may be a possibility but they are moving slower - good back ups in case these first two fall apart.

I am tired. I am excited. I am hopeful. I don't want to over think the process.

Thank you for prayers. Thank you for continued prayers.